Contemporary Art

Live Auction, 16 February 2019

Contemporary Auction

Sold for

ZAR 45 520
Lot 94
  • Norman Catherine; Tapticle

Lot Estimate
ZAR 40 000 - 60 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 45 520

About this Item

South African 1949-
lacquer on resin and found objects
height: 108cm, including base


According to Norman Catherine’s biographer, Hazel Friedman, the artist’s second solo exhibition included ‘surreal landscapes with strange phallic plants and dismembered body parts … It was at this second Goodman Gallery solo show that Catherine first exhibited customised fibreglass shop window mannequins, rendered in bright colours, and his legendary Tapticles (taps with testicles).’1 The psychosexual theatre of surrealism was clearly an influence, notably René Magritte. Following in the wake of pop art and photorealism, the early 1970s however witnessed renewed interest in realist figure painting and sculpture. Hyperrealism, as the movement was dubbed, privileged the inauthentic, ‘the simulation of something which never really existed,’ as philosopher Jean Baudrillard put it.2 Catherine’s sculpture is noteworthy for its polished lacquer scrotum; the finish mimics the sheen of everyday consumer objects. Later replicas of this work, for example those produced by Workhorse Bronze Foundry in 2016, are entirely presented in metal.

Sean O’Toole

  1. Hazel Friedman. (2000) Norman Catherine, Johannesburg: Goodman Gallery Editions. Page 26.
  2. Jean Baudrillard. (1981) Simulacra and Simulation, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Page 45.


Hazel Friedman. (2000) Norman Catherine, Johannesburg: Goodman Gallery Editions. Another example illustrated in colour on page 16.

cf. Natalie Knight. (2017) The Big Picture: An Art-O-Biography, Johannesburg: Batya Bricker. A similar example illustrated on page 94.

View all Norman Catherine lots for sale in this auction

Other lots that might interest you
Wim Botha; Prism 17
Wim Botha
Prism 17
ZAR 300 000 - 500 000
Lyndi Sales; What are your chances if the game is rigged?
Lyndi Sales
What are your chances if the game is rigged?
ZAR 50 000 - 70 000
Cameron Platter; As the Serpent Leers
Cameron Platter
As the Serpent Leers
ZAR 80 000 - 120 000
Brett Murray; Praise Singer
Brett Murray
Praise Singer
ZAR 150 000 - 200 000
Ledelle Moe; Congregation
Ledelle Moe
ZAR 100 000 - 150 000
Brett Murray; King
Brett Murray
ZAR 40 000 - 60 000